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An exclusive insight into the solution delivering greater control, efficiency and flexibility in rail control rooms around the world.

Posted by Luke Upton on Apr 11, 2017

Canva Nanjing Metro.jpgPeter Sondergaard, a 30+ year veteran of the IT industry and SVP at Gartner Research, said in a recent article that, “information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” Accurately gathering, understanding, prioritizing and analysing essential real-time information is a critical priority for the metrorail industry in which operational efficiency and safety is key. As modern metro-rail networks grow in complexity, there is an increasing influx of operational data. To assist in amalgamating these diverse data sets into understandable and actionable information that maximizes situational awareness and enables control centre staff to make better decisions, metro-rail systems across the world use Willowglen Systems SCADA/ICS (Integrated Communication / Control System) technologies, and today our Editor gets an exclusive trip into some of the world's busiest control rooms. 

Every year Willowglen Systems’ solutions oversee the safe and efficient arrival of over 3 billion passenger journeys throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. SCADACOM Transit ICS, Willowglen’s enterprise solution for metro-rail installations, is currently deployed in Beijing, New York, Vancouver, Ottawa, Las Vegas, Johannesburg, and Seoul, in addition to other cities.

Headquartered in Alberta, Canada, Willowglen’s SCADACOM product family is also extensively used in oil & gas pipelines, power generation & distribution, and water/wastewater industries.They are an experienced partner in collaborating with clients from project inception to operational success throughout all design, engineering, and integration stages.

Multiple Benefits

We spoke to Rumi Mohammad, Senior Product Manager at Willowglen, and asked what SCADACOM Transit ICS offers their metro-rail clients. “We add value to transport operations. At a fundamental level, we bring together a metro-rail network’s subsystems into a single control, monitoring, reporting, and analysis system. There is a wide-range of sub-systems that can be integrated from Traction Power Distribution and Automatic Train Control, to CCTV, Automated Fare Collection and Platform Screen Door management. Our software seamlessly coordinates all the interactions and interconnections between subsystems, so control room staff can perform their duties quickly, safely and effectively without having to understand the inner workings performed behind the scenes.”

SCADACOM’s unifying management of diverse subsystems into a central hub eliminates the problems that arise from ‘islands of control’, and its specially-designed INSTANT database ensures scalable performance no matter the size of the installation. Based on leading-edge research and industry best practices, a humancentric operator experience reduces fatigue, burnout, and error. From this single system, SCADACOM supports all transportation network stakeholders – from operators to management, from maintenance staff to station attendants.

Beyond data aggregation, a modern ICS must include integrated analytical features. Advanced alarm management enable analysis of historical alarm data and enables more sophisticated features for auditing and grouping alarms. Status Reports simplify reporting while enhancing the Situational Awareness of Field Environment (SAFE) Personnel Monitoring, further streamlining operations through real-time maintenance management and improved coordination of field resources.

Willowglen Control Room (The solution delivering greater control, efficiency and flexibility in rail control rooms around the world).

Collectively, the Automated Review Module provides recording and playback functions for the runtime environment, while also forensically investigating important events. The SCADACOM Shift Handover and Risk Reduction Process is an electronic operator tool that enables users to reduce the risk of human error which may occur during a shift change, drastically reducingthe number of incidents. PrimeLine provides operators with a visualized electrical flow path for energized sections of traction power in the system, ensuring operators are fully aware in real-time about which sections are energized for safety-critical operations.

Nanjing Metro Case Study

The Nanjing Metro System (pictured at the top of the page) is an illustrative case study demonstrating SCADACOM’s unrivalled platform adaptability and rich feature set. Currently, SCADACOM is in operation on 6 of the city’s subway lines, encompassing 122 stations in total. The technical requirements for each are unique. One line specifies 4-way redundant servers at the master control centre, and 46 ICS servers in total with 100 concurrent users, while another line demands over 200,000 I/O points in a single database with no degradation of system performance. All installations serve as umbrella management systems tying multiple subsystems, such as Traction Power, Building Automation, Fire Alarms, Passenger Information and Public Address, CCTV, Fare Collection, Telephony, and Platform Screen Doors, into a unified, real-time monitoring and control interface.

Keeping Pace with Change

One of the challenges of our digitally driven transport industry is keeping pace with evolving best practices and ensuring that a state-of-the art piece of technology today remains relevant for years to come. We asked Douglas Kruger, Senior Director of SCADACOM at Willowglen how their solutions retain their cutting edge. “With our products there are no glass ceilings. They are extremely scalable, with the system supporting over 1,000,000 data points, in addition to fully adaptable, modular architecture for maximum flexibility. New technologies can be quickly supported: SCADACOM is built on open, reliable industry standards that enable easy integration with third party systems. Similarly the system utilizes defense-in-depth cyber-security features to combat emerging threats, whilst also being Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ready as these exciting opportunities evolve.”

Metro and rail operators currently employing a SCADACOM system experience increased operational efficiency and greater control and flexibility over day-to-day operations based on visibility and analysis of detailed, real-time critical events. As Peter Sondergaard says, “it’s information and analytics thatWillowglen Systems.jpg are the essential business tools today”

For more information on Willowglen Systems and SCADACOM Transit ICS please contact or visit 

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Topics: IT and WiFi, Signalling

Luke Upton

Written by Luke Upton

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